Downtown Myrtle Beach getting a facelift?

Map explaining how the "Alley Swap" would work under the proposed plan
Map explaining how the "Alley Swap" would work under the proposed plan

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) The City of Myrtle Beach is considering an ordinance that would allow land developers to extend the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk and build a new public park downtown.

The investment group Coastal Dining and Entertainment, LLC, is preparing to build a new Mexican restaurant on a plot near the intersection of 14th Avenue North and North Ocean Boulevard, and hope to include a nearly 400 foot extension of the boardwalk, additional downtown parking and a new public park.

The plot of land was previously the home of several dilapidated hotels Myrtle Beach Mayor John Rhodes says needed to be demolished.

"We've got some structures [on North Ocean Boulevard] that have deteriorated, they're blighted and they're eyesores," Rhodes says.

A plan proposed to Myrtle Beach City Council would allow the developers to perform an "Alley Swap", which means the city would abandon four alleyways and allow developers to use the area to connect 15th Avenue North to North Ocean Boulevard, and build the new public park.

City Council Members passed the ordinance on first reading Tuesday afternoon, but still say there are issues with the ordinance that need to be altered before it can pass on a final reading.

The "alley swap" would normally cost a developer $40,000 per alley, in this case totaling $160,000.

City Councilmember Susan Grissom Means says Coastal Dining and Entertainment, LLC hopes the city will pay a some or all of the "alley swap" fee.

"Some of the [alley swap] fees could go toward the park building expansion.  That would fall under the guidelines of the alleyway swap so I think the city will probably look favorably on that," Means says.

Aqua Beach Inn Manager Josh Gilliam says he believes the boardwalk will provide a needed boost for business in the area.

"I think it definitely draws in business…that's one of the first questions I get when people check in is where's the boardwalk start, how far does it run, so it's definitely benefited business down here," Gilliam says.

Myrtle Beach City Council will have a second reading of the ordinance at a future council meeting.

The new Mexican restaurant is scheduled to open sometime in May.

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